Off to the Tuscan hill town of Volterra
Volterra Travel Blog› entry 8 of 24 › view all entries
The hill country is simply beautiful, with farms and cottages dotting the countryside. Wheat fields were almost ready for harvesting, and of course, there were the ubiquitous olive groves. We stopped at a few scenic overlooks for photo ops.
Volterra was one of the most important Etruscan cities. The city bitterly fought against the Florentines in the Middle Ages, but like many Tuscan towns, it lost in the end and was given a fortress atop the city to "protect" its citizens. Shades of the Rocca Paolina!
The most famous sight in Volterra is its Etruscan Gate, Porta all'Arco, built in the fourth century B.C. It is the oldest-standing Etruscan gate. In 1944, the Nazi forces wanted to blow up the arch to slow the Allied Army. To save their treasured landmark, Volterrans tore up the stones from the street leading into the city and filled in the arch, and convinced the Nazi commander there was no need to blow it up. After the war, the arch was restored to its former glory.
Volterra is known for their alabaster, and many shops displayed beautiful alabaster products. We lunched in the village square, then headed to the 13th-century wall to look down into the Roman theater, which was discovered in the 50's under the detritus of the town dump.